[See larger version] Meanwhile, the fleet which was to bear Buonaparte to Egypt was lying in various squadrons in the ports of Genoa, Civita Vecchia, and Bastia, ready, when any adverse wind should drive the British fleet from the coast, where it blockaded them, to drop down to Toulon and join the main body. On board of these vessels were thirty thousand men, chiefly from the army of Italy. Nelson, with a numerous fleet, was maintaining the blockade, though the secret of the fleet's destination had been so well kept that it was only surmised that Egypt might be its destination. Buonaparte himself had been recalled to Paris. A sudden message sent him back to Toulon. A gale had driven Nelson's fleet from the coast, and so much damaged it that he was obliged to make for Sardinia to repair. The moment was come; the different squadrons joined from the Italian ports, and the Egyptian armament issued on the 19th of May from Toulon. Napoleon was on the mission destined, he believed, to conquer Egypt, and thus to place not only a powerful barrier between us and our Indian possessions, but, having established a strong empire in Egypt and Syria, to enable France to maintain a large fleet in the Persian Gulf, and to accomplish the invasion and conquest of British India by land or sea, with the aid of Tippoo Sahib, who was once more at war with[466] Britain. Nay, like another Alexander, the boundless ambition of Buonapartean ambition which was his final ruincontemplated the conquest of all Asia and the founding of a giant empire there. "If St. Jean d'Acre," he said to Las Cases, "had yielded to the French arms, a great revolution would have been accomplished in the East. The general-in-chief would have founded an empire there, and the destinies of France would have undergone different combinations from those to which they were subjected." He would have come back and proceeded to the conquest of Europe.

{ 15 single parishes 15

Vigilant Stair had discovered the ships that had been prepared at Havre, by the connivance and aid of the late king, and he insisted that they should be stopped. Admiral Byng also appeared off Havre with a squadron, and Lord Stair demanded that the ships should be given up to him. With this the Regent declined to comply, but he ordered them to be unloaded, and the arms to be deposited in the royal arsenal. One ship, however, escaped the search, containing, according to Bolingbroke, one thousand three hundred arms, and four thousand pounds of powder, which he proposed to send to Lord Mar, in Scotland. The general election brought a large accession of strength to the Reform Party. The new Parliament met on the 21st of June, and Mr. Manners Sutton was again elected Speaker. In the Speech from the Throne the king said, "Having had recourse to the dissolution of Parliament, for the purpose of ascertaining the sense of my people on the expediency of a Reform in the Representation, I have now to recommend that important question to your earliest and most attentive consideration, confident that, in any measures which you may prepare for its adjustment, you will adhere to the acknowledged principles of the Constitution, by which the rights of the Crown, the authority of both Houses of Parliament, and the rights and liberties of the people are equally secured." The usual assurances were then given of the friendly disposition of all foreign Powers; reference was made to the contest then going on in Poland, to the Belgian Revolution, and the right of its people to regulate their own affairs, so long as the exercise of it did not endanger the security of neighbouring States. A paragraph was devoted to Portugal, lamenting that diplomatic relations with its Government could not be re-established, though a fleet had been sent to enforce our demands of satisfaction. Strict economy was recommended, in the stereotype phraseology of Royal Speeches. Having referred to reduction of taxation, the state of the revenue, and to the desire to assist the industry of the country, by legislation on sound principles, the Speech described the appearance of Asiatic cholera, and the precautions that had been taken to prevent its introduction into England. The rest of the Speech was devoted to Ireland, where "local disturbances, unconnected with political causes," had taken place in various districts, especially in Clare, Galway, and Roscommon, for the repression of which the constitutional authority of the law had been vigorously and successfully applied; and thus the necessity of enacting new laws to strengthen the executive had been avoided, to avert which, the king said, would ever be his most earnest desire. Otherwise the prospect was dismal enough, and some of the greatest thinkers of the age were profoundly affected by the conviction that they were on the eve of a vast convulsionthat the end of the world was at hand, and that the globe was about to emerge into a new state of existence. The unsettled state of society accounts, in some measure, for the prevalence of the delusions of Edward Irvingthen in the height of his fame; delusions from which such minds as Dr. Arnold's did not wholly escape. In reply to inquiries about the gift of tongues, this great man wrote:"If the thing be real, I should take it merely as a sign of the coming day of the Lord. However, whether this be a real sign or no, I believe the day of the Lord is comingi.e. the termination of one of the great ages of the human race; whether the final one of all, or not, that, I believe, no created being knows, or can know.... My sense of the evils of the times, and to what purpose I am bringing up my children, is overwhelmingly bitter. All the moral and physical worlds appear so exactly to announce the coming of the great day of the Lordi.e. a period of fearful visitation, to terminate the existing state of thingswhether to terminate the whole existence of the human race, neither man nor angel knowsthat no entireness of private happiness can possibly close my mind against the sense of it."

During the excitement that followed the passing of the Emancipation Act incessant attacks were made upon the character of the Duke of Wellington. Perhaps the most violent of these was published in the Standard by the Earl of Winchilsea, one of the most ardent of the anti-Catholic peers, who charged the Premier with disgraceful conduct. The offence was contained in a letter addressed by Lord Winchilsea to Mr. Coleridge, secretary to the committee for establishing the King's College, London. He said he felt rather doubtful as to the sincerity of the motives which had actuated some of the prime movers in that undertaking, "when he considered that the noble duke at the head of his Majesty's Government had been induced on this occasion to assume a new character, and to step forward himself as the public advocate of religion and morality." He then proceeded:"Late political events have convinced me that the whole transaction was intended as a blind to the Protestant and High Church party; that the[300] noble duke, who had, for some time previous to that period, determined upon breaking in upon the Constitution of 1688, might the more effectually, under the cloak of some outward show of zeal for the Protestant religion, carry on his insidious designs for the infringement of our liberties, and the introduction of Popery into every department of the State." The Duke having obtained from Lord Winchilsea an avowal of the authorship, demanded a retractation or apology, which was refused. The matter was then referred to friends, and a hostile meeting was agreed upon. "It is," says Mr. Gleig, "a curious feature in this somewhat unfortunate occurrence, that when the moment for action arrived it was found that the Duke did not possess a pair of duelling-pistols. Considering the length of time he had spent in the army, and the habits of military society towards the close of the last century, that fact bore incontestable evidence to the conciliatory temper and great discretion of the Duke. Sir Henry Hardinge, therefore, who acted as his friend, was forced to look for pistols elsewhere, and borrowed them at lasthe himself being as unprovided as his principalfrom Dr. Hume, the medical man who accompanied them to the ground. The combatants met in Battersea Fields, now Battersea Park. Lord Winchilsea, attended by the Earl of Falmouth, having received the Duke's fire, discharged his pistol in the air. A written explanation was then produced, which the Duke declined to receive unless the word 'apology' was inserted; and this point being yielded, they separated as they had met, with cold civility."

Gustavus despatched the chief mutineers under arrest to Stockholm; but he found those who remained equally infected. In fact, the whole of the Swedish aristocracy had long aimed at usurping the entire powers of the State, and of dictating to the king. Whilst thus suddenly disabled, the men themselves in a great measure assuming the language of their officers, Gustavus found that Sweden itself was menaced with an invasion of the Danes from the side of Norway, at the instigation of Russia. It was necessary to hurry home, leaving the portion of the army in Finland, which remained subordinate, under the command of his brother. On arriving, Gustavus issued an earnest proclamation to his people to follow him to the defence of their country. But to lose no time he hastened on to Dalecarlia, the brave inhabitants of which had first placed his great ancestor, Gustavus Vasa, on the throne. They speedily mustered to his aid, and he led them directly against the Danes, who, under the Prince of Hesse, were already in possession of Str?mstad and Uddevalla, and in full march on Gothenburg, the chief commercial town of Sweden.

But whilst Gifford was thus demolishing an outbreak of bad taste, a much more remarkable evidence that those who lay claim to good taste frequently have it not was given by the appearance of several new plays and other documents attributed to Shakespeare. The chief of these was "Kynge Varrtygerne," a tragedy, edited by Samuel Ireland. Numbers of persons of high name and pretension, as Dr. Parr, Boswell, Pye, the laureate, Chalmers, the editor of an issue of "British Poets," Pinkerton, a writer of all sorts of things, etc., became enthusiastic believers and admirers of these pretended discoveries. They turned out to be impudent forgeries by the son of the editor, named William Henry Ireland, and are in reality such trash that they are a melancholy proof of how little value, from some learned persons, is the adoration of Shakespeare. Malone, in an "Inquiry" into the authenticity of these writings, in 1796, completely exposed their spuriousness. Pinkerton, one of their most zealous advocates, himself perpetrated a similar forgery of a volume of Scottish poems, issued as ancient ones. He enjoyed the particular patronage of Horace Walpole.

As the 1st of November approached, the day on which the Stamp Act was to take effect, the excitement became intense. Furious crowds assembled in the ports to prevent the landing of the stamped paper from the ships which brought it. The appointed distributors were compelled to resign their posts. At New York the stamped paper was landed, but such was the commotion that it had to be put into the custody of the city magistrates, and be kept under guard in the city hall. It was utterly impossible to put the paper into use, and, after some interruption, business and the courts of law were allowed to proceed without it, on the plea that the stamps could not be obtained.

In 1831 there were in England and Wales 56 parishes containing less than 10 persons; 14 parishes containing but from 10 to 20 persons, the largest of these, on the average, containing 5 adult males; and there were 533 parishes, containing from 20 to 50 persons, the largest of which would give 12 adult males per parish. It was absurd to expect that such parishes could supply proper machinery for the levying and collecting of rates, or for the distribution of relief. It was found that a large number of overseers could only certify their accounts by signing with a mark, attested by the justice's clerk. The size of the parishes influenced materially the amount of the poor-ratethe smallest giving the greatest cost per head. For example, the hundred absolutely largest parishes, containing a population of 3,196,064, gave 6s. 7d. per head; the hundred intermediate parishes, containing a population of 19,841, gave 15s. a head; while the hundred smallest parishes from which poor-rate returns were made, with a population of 1,708, gave 1 12s. a head. The moral effects were still more remarkable. In the large parishes 1 in 13 was relieved; in the intermediate, 1 in 12?; and in the smallest, 1 in 4, or 25 per cent. of the population, were paupers. Hence arose the necessity of a union of parishes with a common workhouse and a common machinery, and with paid permanent officers for the administration of relief.

It was now the turn of the French to triumph, and of the Allies to suffer consternation. Louis, once more elate, ordered Te Deum to be sung in Notre Dame, and all Paris was full of rejoicing. He declared that God had given a direct and striking proof of the justice of his cause and of the guilty obstinacy of the Allies. His plenipotentiaries assumed at Utrecht such arrogance that their very lacqueys imitated them; and those of Mesnager insulted one of the plenipotentiaries, Count von Richteren, and Louis justified them against all complaints. In such circumstances, all rational hope of obtaining peace except on the disgraceful terms accepted by England vanished.

Next day the victorious general sent a message to Hyderabad, threatening to storm the city if it was not immediately surrendered. The walls were very strong, and might have been defended successfully; but the Ameers had lost heart, and six of them came out to the British camp, and laid their swords at the feet of the conqueror. But though the city was in his possession, conquest seemed only to increase his difficulties. He had to keep possession of a large hostile city, and to defend his own entrenched camp against 20,000 Beloochees, who were still in the field under Shere Mahommed, and to accomplish all this he had but 2,000 effective men under his command. Reinforcements, however, were quickly dispatched by Lord Ellenborough. They arrived safely and gave him an army of 5,000 veteran troops. In the meantime, Shere Mahommed had come within five miles of the British camp, and sent Sir Charles Napier a summons to surrender; he had an army of 20,000 men in an extremely strong position. Nothing daunted, Sir Charles Napier attacked the enemy. His plan of action was altered, on account of an unauthorised attack made by Colonel Stark with his cavalry, in consequence of the giving way of the centre before an onset of the Irish regiment. The cavalry charge, the result of a sudden inspiration, was brilliantly successful. The cavalry swept everything before them, and carried confusion and dismay into the rear of the enemy's centre. The British general instantly took advantage of this success, and, changing his plan, he led on the Irish infantry to storm the first nullah. After a fierce resistance, the scarp was mounted, and Lieutenant Coote fell wounded while in the act of waving the Beloochee standard in triumph on the summit. The Sepoys were equally successful in storming the second nullah, which was bravely defended, but ultimately carried with great loss to the enemy, who were routed in all directions, their retreating ranks being mowed down by the artillery, and pursued by the cavalry for a distance of several miles. The loss of the British in this great victory was only 270 men. Although the heat was then 110° in the shade, Sir Charles Napier rapidly pursued the enemy, so that his cavalry arrived at Meerpoor, a distance of forty miles, before Shere Mahommed could reach it. It was his capitalstrongly fortified, filled with stores of all kindsand it fell without resistance into the hands of the British general. Shere Mahommed had retreated to the stronghold of Omerkote, in the desert. Thither he was pursued by Captain Whitlie, at the head of the Light Horse. The Ameer fled with some horsemen into the desert. The garrison that remained, after a few shots, pulled down their colours, and, on the 4th of April, the British standard waved on the towers of Omerkote.

At length the Duke of Cumberland arrived from Flanders, and foreign and English troops were assembled in the Midland counties; Marshal Wade had also ten thousand men collected at Newcastle-on-Tyne. The Duke of Cumberland was appointed Commander-in-Chief, and the brave soldiers who had fought under him at Fontenoy were ready to follow him, in the highest confidence of making short work with the Highlanders.